Facebook marketing for your business can be very effective, when done right.
With Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm being the social engagement equivalent to Google’s Search Algorithms it’s important to share content that will:
- Appeal to the News Feed Algorithm.
- Appeal to your fans in an effort to maximize your engagement (and in turn your reach.)
That’s not always a simple task, but it becomes more achievable if you are following some known best practices.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when posting content to Facebook and when engaging your fans to ensure you gain the most out of your Facebook marketing:
1. Be Conversational: Facebook is a people-driven platform. Let your audience know there are “people” behind your posts by having your social team use a personal and conversational tone.
2. Keep It Short: Posts with less than 100 characters tend to get more engagement than those that are longer.
3. Be Mobile: Ensure your website and the websites of content you may share are optimized to display on mobile devices.
4. Use Open Graph Meta Tags: Website content that contains Open Graph Meta Tags will appeal to the Facebook Algorithm more than content that does not. For more information on OG tags read up on Facebook Developer Best Practices. (If you run a blog there are lots of simple plugins/apps that will enable this on your website.)
5. Have Your Authors Respond To Comments Quickly: Every comment is an opportunity to engage with your audience, don’t waste the opportunity. Marketers are willing to pay big money to talk directly to customers and gather feedback, each post on social provides an opportunity to do the same.
6. Ask Questions & Ask for Feedback: The best posts on Facebook pages tend to be structured in question form. Ask them often & listen to what your fans are saying.
7. Participate in the Conversation: Customers appreciate brands who take an interest in them.
8. Be Helpful: Be sure to help educate your fans, not just promote your products.
9. Follow Thought Leaders: Find people in your niche, follow them, interact with them and share their content.
10. Run Promotions: Offer specials, coupons & limited time offers – but consider using ads to promote these events versus optimizing for organic reach. (See point below under “avoid at all costs” re: self promotional posts.)
11. Keep Fans Informed: Let people know what’s going on with your business/brand. As an example: If you have a website (of course you do…) keep people informed of outages that may be coming up, or technical issues that may be currently happening.
12. Post Photos: Try to keep text on images to a minimum and under Facebooks 20% rule (just in case you want to boost the post). Never include links in the “captions” of your photos.
13. Say “Thank You”: Thank your followers & fans often. Make them the center of your focus.
14. Optimize your Shared “Link” Photos: Don’t settle on the automatically generated preview if you feel it’s not strong enough to grab attention. Better yet: Optimize your post images.
15. Open Graph Debugging: Regularly check your content against the Open Graph Debugging tool and consider pre-caching your images.
16. Feed the Algorithm: The Algorithm favors posts that get lots of comments, likes and shares in short periods. Your goals should always be about maximizing engagement around your content. Engagement will get you “reach.” If you are only focusing on “reach” you are missing the biggest part of the equation. (and hey… I can totally understand focusing on reach – it’s always the “bigger” number to report and usually the longer term goal for many brands – but do not fall into that trap.)
17. Post Links: The algorithm currently prioritizes link posts, so use them and be sure to optimize the photos shared in the link previews.
18. Pay Attention to Trending Topics: The Algorithm prioritizes trending topics, and often those trending topics is where social “attention” will be – when applicable take advantage of trending topics and get in involved in the conversation.
19. Get Your Video Strategy Ready: Video is becoming increasingly popular on Facebook. The News Feed algorithm tends to favor displaying videos that receive a large number of views or have a longer average viewing duration (i.e. more users finish watching your video) – your goal in creating video content is to capture attention quickly at the start of your videos, and ensure the video is not too long that a user will “tune out” before they finish watching it.
20. Tag Other Pages: The Newsfeed Algorithm likes it when you tag other pages in your posts text content – when the opportunity presents itself, make sure you mention pages that are related.
21. Post New Content: The Algorithm loves new content, strive to feed the open graph new content vs. continually sharing the same content.
22. Vary Your Post Type: Users don’t engage the same way with every post and people want to see different types of content, so keep them interested. Don’t limit your posts to any one form of content i.e. only status updates, or only links, or only photos – mix it up. Pages that vary their post types typically see a 9-15% higher engagement rate.
23. Be Consistent: It’s important to get into the habit of posting regularly, whatever your bandwidth for social media may be. Whether it’s once a week, once a weekday, or several times a day…. just be consistent. When a Facebook page’s post-frequency is erratic the audience doesn’t know when to tune in for updates, and the News Feed algorithm will also penalize you. Don’t post every day for one week then disappear for a week!
Things to avoid at all costs:
Overposting: Only post as often as you can get good engagement.
Hard Selling: Excessively promoting your own products – these posts will be penalized by the algorithm.
Using Bad Grammar: Make sure you don’t have any grammar errors or misspelled words in your posts. It’s easier to avoid the “Grammar Police” then have to respond to them.
Talking Politics or Religion: Totally OK to have your own opinions. But you’ll run off half your potential audience if you take a side on political or religious issues. That said if you firmly believe in something and that belief is core to your business (e.g. you only sell fair trade goods) – then speak up and be authentic.
Urls in your Copy: Simply put: don’t include links/urls in your posts copy.
Respond Hastily & Without Thought: Remember your messages are public. Well thought out & correct answers are vital.
Post Clickbait: “Click-baiting” is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see.
Frequently Circulate the Same Content: Avoid re-using content over, and over again. And worst of all: don’t publish the exact same piece of content back to back to your wall.
If you must share the same content… Ask yourself the following questions before you do:
- Why I am re-sharing this content? Is it important? Yes – then proceed… No? – then don’t share it.
- Can this piece of content be updated? If it can be, then do so. (Open Graph meta tags will list the last edit date on your url and Facebook will see that the content has been changed/updated.)
Burying your Posts: Don’t publish a new post if you put up your last post less than an hour ago.
Like-baiting: This is using the words “like, comment, or share” in the text of your updates/posts – any/all will be penalized by the News Feed Algorithm.
Post Spammy Links Some stories use inaccurate language or formatting to try and trick people into clicking through to a website that contains only ads or a combination of frequently circulated content + ads. As an example: Stories that claim to link to a photo of a celebrity but in reality that photo is another four clicks and three websites away taking the viewer to websites with many ads and often never towards the intended content.
Text-only status updates from pages: Unless you know your audience is using primarily slower / less technical connections there really is little need to use this post type.
Poor quality posts: Having your posts hidden or reported (a sign of low quality) – so monitor your posts for spikes in these metrics.
Self promotion: Overly promotional content from pages—pushing people to buy an app or service, pushing people to enter a contest or sweepstakes, and posts that reuse the same text and images used in ads.
Be sure to track your performance and identify trends from your page insights. With a little work and the use of some (or all) of these tips it will help you improve your content and increase engagement for your page. If you don’t see the increase right away, don’t be discouraged! Keep at it.
Remember Facebook updates the News Feed all the time, so don’t view all of these tips as “set in stone” – things may change, and if they do I will try to update this post, but also be sure to check Facebooks News Feed FYI series for the latest news and changes.
Did you find some of these tips helpful? Are you currently using any of these strategies? How are they working for you? Let me know in the comments.